Anassis Sweeps Infineon Ferrari Challenge SONOMA, CA (Mar 21). Emmanuel Anassis couldn't have done any better at the opening of the 2004 North American Ferrari Challenge season presented by Motorola. The Montreal, Quebec, resident took ...
Anassis Sweeps Infineon Ferrari Challenge
SONOMA, CA (Mar 21). Emmanuel Anassis couldn't have done any better at the opening of the 2004 North American Ferrari Challenge season presented by Motorola. The Montreal, Quebec, resident took pole position in qualifying, led every lap and won the 30 minute preliminary Saturday race. That win gave him the pole for Sunday; Anassis again led every lap en route to the victory in his Ferrari 360 prepared by the Ferrari of Quebec dealership. The pair of wins continued Anassis' streak; he also won the final race of the 2003 season, and finished second in the 2003 championship.
Still, Anassis had to work for his wins. At the start of Saturday's race Todd Morici (former Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Champion appearing as a guest driver in the Motorola entry) took the lead into the first corner of the 12-turn 2.53 Infineon Raceway, at Sears Point in Northern California. Anassis regained first place only a few corners later, through, and while Morici could get close he never again could challenge for the lead. Morici finished second, ahead of John Krieg (Ferrari of Houston), who had a race-long fight for the position with Kurt Buchwald (Ferrari of Washington), driving his first Challenge race.
Anassis had an easier time on Sunday, never facing a serious challenge as he led from flag to flag in the 45 minute final race. Morici held a strong second, and Krieg could never get close enough to attempt a pass. Michael Pontoriero (Ferrari of Long Island) had moved up to a strong fourth place, but mechanical problems ended his day. There was substantial action further back in the 16 car pack, but at the end it was the same podium: Anassis, Morici, and Krieg.
In addition to the podium winners, special awards for sportsmanship and the Challenge spirit were presented by Challenge sponsors Bose and Piaggio Aero to the father and son team of Michael and Joe Pontoriero, Kurt Buchwald, Joel Quaid, and Michael Louli.
Next race in the North American Ferrari Challenge Presented by Motorola will be at Road Atlanta, on May 15-16.